Chris Paul is seizing the opportunity to make a pitch for one of his closest friends in the NBA to join him in Houston, with a new report claiming that the All-Star point guard is lobbying hard for his team to sign Carmelo Anthony.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the process of releasing Anthony to free up some much-needed cap space, and his next destination is unclear. While there have been a handful of teams connected to Anthony, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports reports that Chris Paul is among the most active in angling for him.
The Rockets were expected to be among the busier teams in NBA free agency, but so far have been overshadowed by the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, leaving the top seed in the playoffs last year looking up at its competitors. The Rockets have also lost forward Trevor Ariza, who bolted Houston to sign a one-year, $15 million deal with the Phoenix Suns.
For a team one win away from the NBA Finals, any move to keep pace with the Warriors would be welcomed. Adding Anthony likely wouldn’t vault them to the top contender — a title that would still belong with the Warriors, especially after signing DeMarcus Cousins to a team-friendly, one-year deal — but could add some important depth to a team that struggled with injuries.
Carmelo Anthony saw somewhat of a decline in the last season with a Thunder team that was never able to click. After averaging 24.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game over the course of his career, Anthony fell to a career-low 16.2 points per game last season on just 40.2 percent shooting.
As The Sporting News noted, Anthony has garnered some attention from other teams, and he reportedly prefers to move to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would be able to play with another close friend in LeBron James. Like James, Anthony has an offseason home in L.A.
But though Anthony bristled this season at the thought of coming off the bench, his decrease in efficiency means he may not be guaranteed a starting role, wherever he should end up.
Chris Paul would have a big stake in adding Carmelo Anthony and building a long-term contender with the Houston Rockets. Though the Warriors still have a long window for title contention, the Rockets are also set up well for the future, especially after Paul signed a four-year contract worth $160 million.